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andyandbriar.com - 7-27-07 Mt Whitney Summit Hike, CA

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83 viewsJuly 25, 2007 12:15PDT - Summit Mount Whitney, California. - 14,505 ft above sea level - N36 34.722 W118 17.529
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35 views4:00AM, Whitney Portal. Doug Bair, Brian Bastinelli, Heather Hiester, Chris Perry, Andy Stahl
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46 views1st break. 10,100 ft 5:26AM. Morale high, average moving speed over 3mph. Sweat from exertion, temps in the high 50's.
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45 viewsZombie Andy attacks Brian with his bare hands. He never saw it comin'...
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44 views2nd break- sun about to rise. Lone Pine lake in background. Facing East.
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47 viewsAmbient temps warming up, ready to move!
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21 viewsSun up, 10,000 ft. Marshy area with rain/snowmelt runoff. Water is COLD!
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45 viewsTemps in 60's, warming as sun rises. The sunlight hasn't hit us yet; it is slowly creeping down the canyon walls- very cool to watch!
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34 viewsClimbing hill away from Mirror Lake, 10,640 ft, 6:27AM. As you climb up from Mirror lake, it becomes obvious how it got that name.
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30 viewsConsultation Lake, 11,680 ft, 7:30AM
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29 viewsA bite to eat at Outpost Camp. The marmots (high altitude groundhogs) and chipmunks were very busy! This is the last campsite before the summit. No fires allowed here, so I don't know how you keep warm at night! You have no way to tell the relative size of the boulders behind us; they appear small. They were HUGE!
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29 viewsThe marmots were friendly, too! You shouldn't feed them, but they inevitably find bits of trail mix dropped by hikers, and this makes them very tame.
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43 viewsDoug and Heather- beginning evil, evil switchbacks. Ice/glaciers in background are much larger than they appear. Without trees as reference, size and distance became very deceiving from this point to the summit.
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57 viewsClimbing switchbacks up from Outpost Camp and Consultation Lake- 12,400 ft, 8:30AM. Facing East.
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22 viewsLooking up at evil, evil switchbacks. You feel like you're in the twilight zone- they never seem to end. At this point, you must put the thought out of your mind that you are going to have to descend this miserable stretch in a few short hours.
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26 viewsBaby steps, trying not to collapse. One step to the right, I would have fallen 15 feet, then bounced a few hundred. That skinny line at the bottom of the cliff is the trail. (!!!) After what seemed like hours of back and forth, I admit I was demoralized. The summit seemed too distant. We pressed on.
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21 viewsOne of our many pauses on the switchbacks. Consultation lake in background. It is aptly named- by this point, you are assuredly doing some consulting with God.
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33 viewsFinally, a waypoint. "Trail Crest:" 13,600 ft, 9:54AM. Air very thin, extremely hard to keep your breath. Camera facing N-NW
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39 views"Trail Crest" Facing West. Hitchcock Lakes in background.
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44 views"Trail Crest" Facing East. Laugh all you want at my "glacier glasses" - the sun was glaring, and they helped quite a bit!
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32 viewsDoug & Heather at Trail Crest. Camera facing West.
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43 viewsBeyond Trail Crest, the trail cuts North to the summit. 13,700 ft, 10:43AM (Yes, it took hours to climb the last few hundred feet.) The views are breathtaking, but the exposure is treacherous. One misstep, and you would have plenty of time to think about it on your way down. Note the clouds heading West, slamming into the face of the summit, and curling straight upwards to the sky.
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28 viewsAndy just left of center, Chris behind. Very rocky. Camera facing south. We hopscotched each other the last 2 miles. I thought I would be last to summit, but I ended up passing everybody but Doug.
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29 viewsThis picture faces East in between the pointy ridges near the summit. Complete exhaustion, I could barely force a smile. The trail is very narrow here, and a wrong step in either direction means quite a plummet.
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